2nd-Grade Homeschool Curriculum The Ultimate Guide
Choosing the Right 2nd-Grade Homeschool Curriculum
If you are new to homeschooling, 2nd grade is a great place to begin. And, if you are continuing to homeschool your child, 2nd grade is an exciting year filled with learning! Children enjoy exploring their environment through hands-on experiences and 2nd graders are eager to master new skills. 2nd grade marks the time children typically take off with learning.
Choosing a 2nd-grade homeschool curriculum can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, 2nd graders are ready to learn in an interactive way that fosters the development of concepts and skillsets. 2nd-grade places emphasis on the basics like reading, writing, spelling, and mathematics.
2nd-grade homeschool curriculum should include engaging activities that focus on reading comprehension, spelling, math, and written expression. 2nd grade is an important educational step in your 2nd-grader’s journey toward lifelong learning.
As a parent, you want to find a curriculum that will teach them what they need to know in 2nd grade and you want to help them learn and grow as a person. If you are looking for the perfect homeschool curriculum for your second-grade student, this guide will let you know what you need to include!
You will want to keep in mind that second-grade students are curious and interested in all the ways we do stuff.
Getting Started With Your Homeschool Experience
- When will you start your school year?
- Are you starting mid-year?
- Will your school year be year-round or follow the traditional school year?
- What will your weekly schedule look like?
What to Look for in a Second-Grade Homeschool Curriculum
- Is the second-grade curriculum research-based?
- Is the curriculum multi-sensory?
- Are there activities that make learning fun?
- Are there activities that reinforce skills?
- Are you able to track progress?
2nd grade should also 2nd grade a variety of subjects in their 2nd-grade homeschool curriculum, including the 7 core subjects. 2nd graders should also have access to technology that can help them learn according to their 2nd-grade learning style.
2nd Graders Should Learn in a Variety of Ways to Meet Their 2nd Grade Learning Style
Not everyone is good at everything. 2nd graders have a variety of strengths and skills that you need to nurture with the 2nd-grade homeschool curriculum.
Parents usually ask themselves, “How can I work with my child’s nature?” 2nd-grade homeschool curriculum should be a reflection of your 2nd-grader’s natural abilities. 2nd-grade homeschool curriculum with a focus on 2nd-grade skills is important to grade-level development. We often want our 2nd-graders to try different things, but it’s vital that you do not overwhelm them with too much information or new concepts.
Is your child an active learner that needs hands-on activities as they learn new concepts? Are they an ‘artsy kid’ that learns best through music and creativity? 2nd graders learn in different ways and it is important to consider their style before introducing the 2nd-grade curriculum.
The best way to choose a second-grade curriculum is to err on the side of caution and be sure that the methods are based on best practices using all modes of learning. That means, using visual, auditory, and tactile-kinesthetic modes of learning such as the methods that use the Orton-Gillingham method.
What Are Orton-Gillingham Methods?
Orton-Gillingham methods are based on the research of Dr. Samuel T. Orton, who in the early 1900s, discovered that people with dyslexia often experienced difficulty in learning to read and spell because their brains had difficulty analyzing language into its individual sounds (phonemes) and letters (graphemes).
Visual Learners: Reading 2nd-grade books, watching 2nd-grade videos, using 2nd-grade apps
Auditory Learners: 2nd-grade songs, 2nd-grade audiobooks
Tactile-Kinesthetic Learners: 2nd-grade hands-on activities, 2nd-grade movement
Multi-Dimensional or Multisensory Learning – This is where you use more than one of the learning styles (for example, 2nd graders can listen to an audiobook while reading 2nd-grade words)
These methods or techniques include a method for teaching language arts: reading, spelling, and writing that take into account that children learn at different rates. These techniques also engage all of the senses (visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic), so no matter your specific learning style, you will be learning using your best mode of learning.
- Direct Instruction
- Diagnostic Teaching
- Comprehensive and Inclusive
Curriculums that are Orton Gillingham-based are designed to teach people how to break down words into their component sounds (phonemes), which helps all kids, even those with dyslexia read more easily.
7 Core Subjects to Include in a Second Grade Homeschool Curriculum
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Physical Education/Movement
The two most important of those core areas are the language arts curriculum and the math curriculum. I will go into greater depth on these two core subjects.
Language Arts is the foundation of literacy. It encompasses reading, spelling, writing along with speaking and listening skills. 2nd-grade homeschool curriculum should include them!
Language Arts Encompasses:
- Reading skills
- Spelling skills
- Writing skills
- Speaking skills
- Listening skills
- Critical Thinking Skills
2nd graders will also benefit from exposure to poetry with their language arts curriculum. 2nd-grade homeschool curriculum should encourage a love to learn!
How to Teach Reading Using The 5 Principles of Reading
When a language arts curriculum uses best practices, they include the 5 principles of reading. That might seem a bit daunting, but it really isn’t as hard as you might think. You just want to be sure the program you choose includes the 5 principles with hands-on activities with a multi-sensory Orton-Gillingham approach. Hands-on activities ensure that your second grader will also practice fine motor skills.
- Phonemic Awareness: understanding how individual sounds make up words
- Phonics: understanding how letters and letter patterns make up words
- Fluency: the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and expression in a variety of ways
- Comprehension: the ability to understand the meaning of what is read
- Vocabulary Development: understanding word meaning
Incorporate a variety of activities with these principles over the course of the week. Reading skills grow dramatically with short activities, printable worksheets, games, online program videos, and more.
There should be a balance of fluency and comprehension exercises with phonics and spelling mixed in. Adding in note-taking and vocabulary building should then round out the program you choose. Scholar Within’s reading program is perfect for homeschoolers to use as the foundation of their homeschool curriculum. Scholar Within takes the guesswork out of how to teach your second grader how to read through a research-based and systematic curriculum.
Read more to see how Scholar Within does this in just minutes a day.
Taking a cue from the five principles of reading, spelling programs should incorporate the first two reading principles into spelling. This method of including phonemic awareness and phonics with spelling actually jump-starts second-grade reading skills. This is because learning to spell and learning to read both depend on a student’s knowledge of the relationships between letters and sounds. So, as you learn to spell your reading skills improve (Ehri 2000).
When studying spelling, we have found that looking at the structure of words has led to a quicker way to learn to spell as well as sound out words (decode words) when reading. Spelling programs that teach the structure of the English language (spelling patterns) make spelling easier. (Beringer et al)
We only put letters together eight different ways in the English language. There are only eight spelling patterns. If you learn to spell by using spelling patterns, it makes spelling so much easier. This is how we teach spelling at Scholar Within. The process we use for this is multi-sensory and Orton-Gillingham-based.
Writing for Second Grade
Second-grade students learn writing skills by learning to take notes from what they read. They also learn to write sentences with their spelling words, sight words, and vocabulary words. Students dictate, copy, write or even draw sketches of what happened in their reading selections. These activities are the beginning steps to learning to write stories and paragraph summaries.
Speaking and Listening Skills for 2nd grade Language Arts
Part of the full curriculum for language arts for elementary students is the speaking and listening skills component. Homeschooling families may not think about these two components, but they typically do include them in their curriculum every day.
For example, the speaking component includes the ability to:
- Speak clearly
- Ask and answer questions
- Express opinions
- Participate in conversations with peers and adults
- Give advice
- Explain how they did something
- Tell a story back to you
- Tell their own story
- Build on what others have said by linking their comments to the remarks of others
The listening component includes the ability to:
- Hear individual sounds and pull them together to make words
- Listen and follow directions
- Listen to a story and be able to follow what is happening in it
- Listen to a selection and then be able to draw a picture about it
- Listen to a selection and then be able to answer questions about it
- Listen to a selection and then be able to retell the story
- Listen to what someone is saying when it is not their turn
- Keep eye contact with the person that is talking
- Respect others opinions
Math Curriculum for Second Graders
Mathematics is the other most important subject of your second-grade curriculum. Second-grade lesson plans should include lessons in the five specific principles of math. These principles cover all of the math concepts your child needs in their math curriculum. There will be plenty of extra practice with each of these math concepts.
Five Principles of Math
- Number Sense
- Geometry (shapes)
2nd-Grade Level Number Sense
Number sense is the ability to understand quantities and concepts like more and less. Which number is bigger? Which number is smaller?
- Counting by fives, tens, and multiples of hundreds, tens, and ones.
- Understand how 100 can be represented by ten bundles of ten
- Compare two three-digit numbers as to which is bigger or smaller using <, =, >. to record the comparison.
- Explain place value of numbers (e.g. 123 means one hundred, two tens, and 3 ones)
- Decompose numbers less than or equal to 20 (e.g. 12 + 8 = 20; 4 + 10 + 6 = 20)
As homeschooling parents, we are all familiar with adding and subtracting. We also know it is important. There are ways to teach your child to add and subtract as well as eventually multiply and divide where they will always have 100% accuracy as long as they follow the process. That is what we teach. This makes math so easy! The specific skills your child should be learning include the following.
- Become fluent with basic math facts
- Practice problems with adding and subtracting within 100
- Add up to four two-digit numbers accurately
- Add and subtract within 1000
- Mentally add 10 or 100 to a given number
- Mentally subtract 10 or 100 from a given number
- Explain why addition and subtraction strategies work
- Understand why we have standard units of measurements (centimeters and inches)
- Be able to measure with a ruler, yardstick, or measuring tape
- Estimate the length of an object using inches, feet, centimeters, and meters
- Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks using a.m. and p.m.
- Solve word problems involving money (dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies)
- Draw a picture graph and a bar graph to represent a data set for up to four categories
- Understanding fractions are equal parts
- Understanding halves, fourths, and thirds
- Be able to match fractions to words
- Be able to choose a fraction that matches a picture
- Recognize and draw shapes with specific attributes such as triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes
- Partition a rectangle into rows and columns of the same size squares and count to total the number of them
- Partition circles and rectangles into two, three, or four equal shares
Second-Grade Curriculum for Art
Art is a very important part of our 2nd-grade curriculum. 2nd graders should be learning how to draw people, nature, and their favorite things in 2nd-grade art lessons. This can include practicing sketching with drawing/sketching pencils or colored pencils on paper or creating 3D shapes out of clay.
Art Projects for the Whole Family
- Make robots out of paper towel tubes and toilet paper tubes or even cans or boxes from food. Use shapes that are square, rectangle, and circular.
Stretch: What does your robot do? How does it help you? What do you call it? If you were to sell your robot, how much would the robot cost?
- Dream up an imaginary world under the soil. Draw a picture of what it would look like. Think about ant homes or other insect homes for inspiration. You can also look at the book Cricket in Times Square or the Beatrix Potter books.
Stretch: Who lives in your imaginary world? What do they do? What ages are your underground critters? Do they live in families? How do they help us?
Science for Second Graders
Second-grade science and nature study
The science curriculum for second graders covers everything from the evolution of plant life on earth to pollination to plant anatomy and even goes into farming and foraging. Some favorite resources include the fun activities from the TinkerActive Workbooks: 2nd Grade Science and the Awesome Science Experiments for Kids.
Additional science and nature study activities for second grade include:
- Nature Study through life science includes animal life, plant life, and foods
- Nature Study through earth science includes weather, geology, water (oceans, lakes, and rivers), and astronomy
- Physical Science includes learning about solids, liquids, and gases (steam)
Physical education and movement are critical pieces to learning. This is because movement is one of the most important ways we activate the vestibular system. The vestibular system is a sensory system in the body that sends motor control signals through the nervous system to the muscles of the eyes. This system helps us with spatial orientation such as which way a letter is facing. For example, these letters are all the same shape, but they face different ways: b, d, p, and q. In short, the vestibular system helps us with higher-order thinking, interpreting information, and gets our body working in sync with our mind. Our reading program (https://scholarwithin.com/online-reading-program) includes mind-body connection activities.
Physical education and movement activities can be done with multiple grade levels. Incorporating multiple grade levels with physical education activities is great for group dynamics by encouraging children to build relationships with peers.
Team Building Activities and Group Games
Team-building activities are a great way to work on 2nd graders’ social skills in a fun way. Games like tag, four square, and dodge ball are great alternatives to an organized sport.
Your Second Graders PE/movement activities
- jump rope activities with long ropes (Pretend your rope is a tightrope. Take turns walking forward, backward, and sideways on the rope.)
- jump rope activities with short ropes (jump rope on two feet with one rope, jump rope forward on one-foot, jump rope backward on tow feet with one jump, jump rope to songs or addition and/or subtraction facts, jump rope while practicing your spelling words)
- soccer or nerf balls: pass the ball to a teammate, pass the ball to a goal, dribble the ball a distance of 25 feet while keeping control of the ball
- kick bowling: set up three or four bowling pins. Students work on accuracy while attempting to knock down the pins by kicking a soccer ball at them
- frisbee throwing to a standing target, frisbee throw to a hoop or bucket
- squats or jumping jacks to get hearts beating and blood pumping.
Activities that incorporate movement into the 2nd-grade homeschool curriculum are a great way for 2nd graders to have fun and work on their academic skills at the same time.
Music Curriculum for Second Graders
Your homeschool year would not be complete without music, and you don’t even need a teacher’s manual to implement it. Some music concepts you will want to have your child do are to develop an understanding of pitch, melody, and rhythm by singing, playing instruments, and doing some creative movement.
- Sing songs like “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”, “This Old Man”, and “Here Comes the Sun”
- Practice singing loudly and softly
- Play rhythm with hands or rhythm sticks to a recording
- Make and play drums or xylophones using both hands